The Real St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas by Fyodor ZubovSt. Nicholas (270-343 A.D.) was the bishop of Myra, a city on the southwestern corner of Turkey along the Mediterranean coast. He attended the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D., opposed the Arian heresy, and signed the Nicene Creed (an early version of the creed that we profess at every Sunday Mass.) However, St. Nicholas is most well-remembered for his generous, secret alms-giving.

In one window in the back of St. Wenceslaus Church, St. Nicholas is depicted holding three sacks. This recalls how he once helped a family in serious need. There was a poor man who could not afford dowries for his three daughters to get married. (In those days, being without husbands would doom the women to lives of destitution, or worse.) Under the cover of night, St. Nicholas tossed three bags of gold coins through their window. (Alternate-tellings of the story have St. Nicholas dropping them down their chimney or leaving them in the daughters’ drying stockings.) We can imagine the family awaking the next morning, finding the gifts he had left, and celebrating the arrival of their salvation.

St. Nicholas’ feast day is celebrated December 6th

Related Link: How St. Nicholas of Myra became associated with Santa Claus

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